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Senate passes resolution backing Israel, cease-fire

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip that would guarantee an end to Hamas rocket attacks.

The Senate passed the resolution on Thursday; a similar resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday and will be considered as soon as Friday.

The resolution, co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader, "encourages the President to work actively to support a durable, enforceable, and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza, as soon as possible, that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and mortars against Israel and allows for the long-term improvement of daily living conditions for the ordinary people of Gaza."

The legislation also recognized Israel’s "right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism."

A fragile cease-fire collapsed last month with a barrage of rockets fired into Israel. Israel launched major operations on Dec. 27.

The resolution also calls for strong protections for civilians and backs the resumption of peace talks toward a two-state solution.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee applauded the passage of the nonbinding resolution.

"AIPAC strongly supports this important congressional action, which backs Israel’s right to self-defense, calls for American leadership to secure a durable and sustainable diplomatic outcome that ends smuggling of arms into Gaza and Hamas attacks on Israel, and expresses strong support for the peace process,"  spokesman Josh Block said in a statement.

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